Bullseye Glass Co. needs your help.
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is proposing a set of sweeping â€œtemporaryâ€ regulations that will severely curtail our production, without clear supporting scientific evidence or an understanding of how we make our glass. The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and the Multnomah County Health Department have stated that there is no immediate health risk to our community. Nevertheless, DEQ is strongly considering adoption of temporary rules that are technically flawed, discriminate against two small companies unfairly, wonâ€™t improve Portlandâ€™s air quality, and arenâ€™t necessary in the absence of acute health risks. Bullseye supports new regulations to improve air quality, but the temporary rules will not achieve that goal.
DEQ is accepting public comment regarding the temporary rules until March 30 at 5:00 pm (PDT). To read the draft rules and submit comments, visit http://1.usa.gov/1LtqPaY
The primary issue is our use of trivalent chromiumâ€”also referred to as Cr(III). Both DEQ and EPA have acknowledged there is no clear evidence of acute or chronic health risks based on Bullseyeâ€™s use of Cr(III). The limitations proposed are based on politics and anchored in speculation that Cr(III) might possibly change into a more toxic form of chromiumâ€”Cr(VI) in our furnaces.
Scientific evidence clearly indicates our furnaces wonâ€™t turn Cr(III) into Cr(VI). If they did, our glass would be ruined. For more information on this, see this explanation by Dr. William LaCourse of Alfred University: http://www.bullseyeglass.com/about-us/faqs.html#chromium
Bullseye understands the public interest and supports stronger environmental standards for our industry. To that effect, the company has already begun the process of installing 99% efficient baghouses on furnaces that melt glasses with chromium. Bullseye Glass and DEQ will test these filtration devices to make certain they operate correctly.
As many of you know, Cr(III) is essential to us producing the glass you rely on. Scientific evidence shows our use of the compound is not harmful. Nevertheless, DEQ wants to restrict Bullseye from using Cr(III) for an extended period of time. They are essentially basing these rules on an assumption of guilt without any proper supporting scientific or factual evidence.
These newly proposed regulations are based on politics and fear, not science and fact. They come right after DEQâ€™s executive director was forced to resign and the supervisor of the air quality department left the agency.
If we are not allowed to use Cr (III), we can no longer make green glass. On top of our voluntary suspension of cadmium glass production until our baghouse is in place, this new limitation would eliminate 50% of our product line. It would result in employee layoffs, huge economic impacts to Bullseye and our worldwide customers, and could even drive us out of business.
Until March 30, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality wants to know your opinion on whether or not to adopt temporary rules that are targeted to affect only one specific industry â€“ the colored art glass industry.They could set a precedent that could affect every other colored glass manufacturer in the United States.
Again, DEQ is accepting public comment regarding the temporary rules until March 30 at 5:00 pm (PDT). To read the draft rules and submit comments, visit http://1.usa.gov/1LtqPaY
There are many issues to consider. Please let DEQ and the Environmental Quality Commission know whether you agree with the points below, and let them know how you would be affected by the temporary or permanent loss of Bullseyeâ€™s products.
Example message of support (feel free to use your own words):
- This is an improper use of temporary rule making. The Oregon Environmental Quality Commission should only consider a temporary rule when credible evidence demonstrates a rule is needed to prevent â€œserious prejudice to the public interest.â€ This is not the case here.
Hastily adopting temporary rules make it appear that agencies are being proactive, but these rules do not protect the public, and makes Bullseye a scapegoat. There is no evidence that emissions from the facility pose any acute health risk nor that Bullseye is fully responsible for the emissions, nor that Bullseyeâ€™s 42 years of operation have resulted in areas of health concerns in the vicinity of the facility.
If the EQC were to implement this temporary rule, numerous significant sources of toxic air pollution will remain from many unregulated businesses. Thus, the temporary rule would not effectively protect the public.
- There is no immediate health risk. The recent OHA studies found that there was no increased cancer risk in SE Portland attributed to Bullseyeâ€™s use of these materials. As the OHA states on its website, â€œit is unlikely that the level of metals detected in the air would cause any immediate health problems for people.â€ OHA also concluded that current data shows â€œlong-term health risks are relatively low.â€
Further, DEQ found no health concerns due to cadmium, arsenic, total chromium or hexavalent chromium in the soil around Bullseyeâ€™s factory. Soil samples showed soil levels were generally below naturally occurring or â€œbackgroundâ€ levels of heavy metals. Keith Johnson, manager for the DEQâ€™s Northwest Region Cleanup Program, stated, â€œ[o]ngoing emissions from the Bullseye facility are not resulting in harmful impacts to soils around the facility.â€
DEQâ€™s and OHAâ€™s own statements provide that the rule is not needed to prevent â€œserious prejudice to the public interest.â€
- Instead of a hasty and discriminatory temporary rule, DEQ should focus on permanent rules, based on scientific investigation and a thoughtful process to address Portlandâ€™s air quality issues. Bullseye will support that effort. These rules should give clear directions to businesses and support the safety of the community. New regulations should cover all businesses, not just target minor specific industries.
- With minor changes to correct scientific errors and omissions in the currently proposed rule, Bullseye Glass is willing to sign an agreement that achieves all of DEQâ€™s goals and allows DEQ and Bullseye to respond promptly to new factual information.
- The haste to adopt technically flawed temporary rules makes it appear that Oregon is repressive to manufacturing businesses and does not care about jobs.
- Oregon agencies should strive for proper and fair treatment of all parties, based on law, rather than responding to public concern resulting from sensational blog posts and test results with partial data and no peer review.
- The health and safety of the community can be achieved without forcing these businesses to close.
- If Bullseye Glass is forced to stop producing 50% of its glass products for 6 months, without regard to ongoing test results or added emission controls, Bullseyeâ€™s survival is at risk. We support an agreement that is similar to the temporary rules, but unlike the temporary rules, also allows DEQ and Bullseye to respond promptly to new factual information.
- Bullseye Glass Co. has a payroll of $7.5 million dollars. 130 Portland families and 20 other Bullseye families depend on Bullseye for jobs. Hundreds of Oregon artists and craftspeople depend upon Bullseye products. Tens of thousands of artists across the United States and the world depend upon Bullseye products.
Bullseye glass has a long history of responsible operation. I stand with Bullseye Glass in its efforts to continue operations as a responsible citizen of the social and business community of Portland, Oregon.
Regulatory decisions must be based on science, not political issues. A leading scientist, Dr. William LaCourse of Alfred University, has said Bullseyeâ€™s furnaces do not produce toxic chromium. We urge DEQ to rely on science and fact, and not to rush to impose these poorly written and misdirected rules.
We sincerely appreciate any support you can provide right now.
(To contact us on this subject, please write to email@example.com. This is the email address for our Environmental Information web pages)
Dan Schwoerer and Lani McGregor
and the people of Bullseye Glass Co.
IMPORTANT: If you only have time to do one thing, submit your comment to Oregon DEQâ€™s public comment form: http://www.oregon.gov/deq/RulesandRegulations/Pages/comments/Ctoxics2016temp.aspx
Current proposed temporary rules and comment form: http://1.usa.gov/1LtqPaY
Oregon Environmental Quality Commission
Colleen Johnson: Johnson.firstname.lastname@example.org
Melinda Eden: Eden.email@example.com
Jane Oâ€™Keefe: Okeeffe.firstname.lastname@example.org
Ed Armstrong: email@example.com
Morgan Rider: firstname.lastname@example.org
Other suggested contacts:
Oregon Health Authority (OHA)
Governor Kate Brown
phone: (503) 378-4582
Representative Rob Nosse
phone: (971) 217-8037
Representative Jessica Vega Pederson
phone: (503) 986-1447
U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer
phone: (503) 231-2300
Oregonâ€™s Natural Resource Office
phone: (503) 378-5232
phone: (503) 326-3386
phone: (503) 326-7525